Consider CrossFit

I recently had the privilege of watching my husband compete in a CrossFit competition! The energy, motivation and camaraderie among the CrossFit athletes was so impressive and inspiring that I decided to interview my husband (and personal trainer) about the exciting sport of CrossFit. He has been doing CrossFit for two years now and has lost 40 pounds in the process!

Question: What other work-outs have you done in the past?

I’ve done strength training, body building, running, interval training and cycling. I have done all types of work-outs. None of them seemed to work for me. I would either get stronger and lack endurance, or I would gain more endurance without getting stronger.

Question: Why did you start doing CrossFit?

For a number of reasons. I wanted to get stronger and healthier. I just like to work-out overall and wanted to improve in my Tough Mudder races and other obstacle course races. With CrossFit, along with a low carb and healthy diet, I was also hoping to improve my diabetes and bring down my A1C to normal. I wanted to cut down my insulin intake and feel more energized. CrossFit has helped me to achieve my goals. Other work-outs are great, but I wasn’t as motivated to do them because I usually did my work-outs alone. I tried other work-outs for two decades, but they weren’t the same as doing CrossFit. Since CrossFit always evolves, it’s always challenging and that’s what makes it fun for me. I like the challenge and am motivated to do better. CrossFit is never repetitive or mundane and usually provides a total body work-out. CrossFit has a community and a great support system within that community. Because of that, you have someone to motivate you and challenge you to do better. You’re not alone in your struggle for your health, to get stronger or for whatever reason, you’re not alone. Someone is always there to cheer you on.

Question: How is CrossFit different from other workouts?

It’s not just bodybuilding. It’s not just endurance, and it’s not just cardio. It’s not just gymnastics. It’s everything that you can think of. It’s muscle confusion and metabolic conditioning. You go from a leg work-out, to a core work-out, to an upper body work-out, to a cardio work-out, to any combination of those work-outs. Every work-out is challenging and there is a new program everyday.

Question: How often do you work-out and how often should others work-out?

I work-out four to five times a week. I recommend that everyone work-out at least three times per week for good health.

Question: What does your training routine look like?

It varies. Here is an example of one day. First, I focus on mobility and stability. When I do mobility training and stability training, I use light weights so that my joints and my movements are accurate. That helps me to feel stronger and has prevented me from getting injuries. Stability training with light weights helps to slowly stimulate my muscles and activates my muscles and joints. Stability training helps me to get stronger. I also take about 45 minutes to an hour of just stretching. After mobility/stability training, I move onto a little bit of metabolic conditioning. That’s an example of one day. On another day, when I work-out at the CrossFit box, I look at the Work-Out of the Day or what we call “WOD” and try to follow that. On other days, I do cardio, which includes something like spin, the elliptical machine, or just running. I combine cardio with calisthenics, like push-ups, pull-ups or air squats. I work on strength training for two days per week so that I can get stronger. On Friday’s or at the end of the week, I do another metabolic work-out at my CrossFit box.

Question: Do CrossFit athletes have to follow a special diet? 

A lot of the athletes in CrossFit follow a healthy diet. It really depends on the individual and what they want to accomplish. Some people do keto diet. Some people just load up on carbs when training. Or some people load up on fats during training and then carb up when they compete. But definitely, nutrition is an important key in CrossFit for performance and recovery. It depends on what kind of goal you have. Eating healthier, cleaner food will help you to reach your goals.

Question: Can anyone do CrossFit?

Anyone can do CrossFit. CrossFit challenges you with different types of work-outs. It’s endurance; it’s strength; it’s resistance; it’s stamina. It’s all of that. It is a great way to exercise.

Question: Do you have any tips for people just starting out in Cross-Fit or for people just starting to work-out in general? 

Yes. Just get your butt to the gym and just try it out. Try something light. Don’t push yourself too hard right way. Don’t get intimidated by the people around you because they’ve been doing what they do for years. Those people didn’t start out that way. At one point, everyone started from the bottom and worked their way up to where they are. Just get to the gym, talk to trainers, ask for tips and start from there.

Question: Do you have to go to the gym to work-out?

There are work-outs that you can do at home without using weights. You can use a chair or steps. You can do step-ups followed by jumping jacks, burpees, push-ups, air squats, bicycle kicks, crunches and/or hollow body holds. Mix it up so that it doesn’t feel repetitive and boring. You can work out in your hotel room, dorm room, living room or really just about in any open space.

Question: How did you train for the CrossFit games?

It’s difficult to have a specific training plan for the games because the exercises are usually kept secret. The exercises are not released until maybe a week ahead of time. Sometimes they have a surprise exercise at the very last minute. So you just do your best. Go to your CrossFit box to do the WODs and strength training. When you do train for the games, work on your stability, mobility and stretching because that will keep you from getting injured. Also, get a lot of rest.

Question: How long should a person be in training before joining a CrossFit competition?

It depends on which divisions are offered. If there is a scaled version, do CrossFit for at least three months with at least three to four days of training per week before joining a competition. Practice on mobility and stability so that you don’t get hurt. Snatch and Clean movements (possible events in the competition) are olympic-type movements that you don’t just learn overnight; it takes practice.

Question: How did you feel during and after the games?

I felt excited and terrified during the games. Afterwards, I felt relieved and proud, and felt a sense of accomplishment.

QuestionWhat keeps you motivated to do CrossFit or what motivates you to work-out in general?

I like to challenge myself. I want to lift heavier weights. I want to learn how to rope climb. I want to be healthier. I want to have the energy to play with my kids. CrossFit work-outs can be really tough. So after you complete a WOD, normal, everyday activities seem a lot easier in comparison.

Question: How long will CrossFit be a part of your life?

I want to keep doing CrossFit for as long as I am physically able to.

Do you work-out? What gives you the motivation to work-out?

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This post was originally published on November 22, 2008 and updated on June 29, 2019.

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